Background and Aim: Echocardiography is a promising technique for the assessment of epicardial adipose tissue (EAT). Increased EAT thickness is associated with different cardiac diseases, including; coronary artery disease (CAD). Since several different echocardiographic approaches have been proposed to measure EAT, the identification of a standardized method is needed. We propose the assessment of EAT maximal thickness at the Rindfleisch fold, the reproducibility of this measurement and its correlation with EAT thickness and volume assessed at cardiac magnetic resonance (CMR). Finally, we will test the predictive role of this measurement on the presence of significant CAD. Methods and Results: In 1061 patients undergoing echocardiography, EAT thickness was measured at the level of the Rindfleisch fold. In 70 patients, we tested the relationship between echo-EAT thickness and EAT thickness and volume assessed at CMR. In 499 patients with suspected CAD, undergoing coronary artery angiography, we tested the predictive value of EAT on the presence of significant CAD. Echo-EAT thickness measurements had an excellent reliability as indicated by the inter-observer (ICC:0.97; 95% C.I. 0.96 to 0.98) and intra-observer (ICC:0.99; 95% C.I. 0.98 to 0.99) reliability rates. Echo-EAT thickness significantly correlated with CMR-EAT thickness and volume (p < 0.001). An EAT thickness value >10 mm discriminated patients with significant CAD at coronary angiography (p < 0.001). At multivariable analysis, including demographic data and cardiovascular risk factors, EAT thickness was an independent predictor of significant CAD and showed an additive predictive value over common atherosclerotic risk factors. Conclusions: Echocardiographic assessment of EAT thickness at the level of the Rindfleisch fold represents a simple and trustworthy method. An increased EAT thickness shows an additive predictive value on CAD over common atherosclerotic risk factors, thus suggesting its potential clinical use for CAD risk stratification.
- Coronary artery disease
- Epicardial adipose tissue
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Medicine (miscellaneous)
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
- Nutrition and Dietetics
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine